During the PHA visit to our studio at Rollins College, I found it amazing the kids’ engagement and ability in the arts. Especially in my station in the computer lab, the children showed an incredible ability to pick up the skills need to work the softwares, such as Adobe Photoshop. In my station, I introduced the kids to Photoshop by showing them how to use the liquify filter on a picture of themselves. I thought this would be a good place to start as it is a semi rudimentary skill and it makes for some funny portraits. Add as you can see by the picture bellow, (unfortunately) the kids took very well to it. They were able to grasps the concept of the liquify filter, and even took to some of the other beginner tools. It was awesome to help introduce these kids to software such as Photoshop, and hopefully this will lead to them tapping into their creative side, or even becoming artists in the future.
Art Lecture Response: Eric Gottesman 11.16.14
In Eric Gottesman’s lecture about his on going work centered around Baalu Girma’s book “Oromaye” I found many relations between his work and our work with PHA. Gottesman uses art in the form of photographs, writing, and film as a way to raise awareness and engage viewers with the atrocities that happened in Ethiopia. Gottesman’s use of art as a vehicle for engagement reminded me of our on going ‘Future Bear’ project. As Gottesman spoke about the situation and events that occurred in Ethiopia and how he engaged the community into conversation it helped to show to me the importance of art as a vehicle for talk. Just as walking and riding a bike are two different ways to get from one place to another, visual art and oral speeches are two sides to the same fruit, however, riding a bike and art are fun. Thus, using art as a way to engage people in a conversation about social issues is simply another way to spark change. People react to things in many different ways and art offers a interesting, unique, and different angle of expression that many people take to. Thus, it was great to hear Gottesman’s lecture at this point in the semester as it related a lot to what we were doing in the classroom.
During my last meeting with the kids at PHA I showed them what I plan to do with the drawings they have made. As we discussed, the Taenan and Nic wanted to make collectable cards which feature their drawings and show the ability of each item drawn to help fight climate change. They were very happy with the draft I brought in and I encouraged them to create more drawings so I could feature them in more cards. I enjoyed the collaboration on this project with Taenan and Nic as they certainly bring a different angle to the project and help me come up with a variety of ideas. Furthermore, I enjoy the direction they want to take the project as the overarching topic of “climate change,” is one we first world inhabiters hardly connect with. Climate change is seen as a problem hundreds of years in the future. A problem that will effect select regions, but not us. Thus, creating tangible cards to demonstrate the effects and outcomes of climate change while also using children’s hand drawings, humanizes the concept to the viewers.
For my second trip to PHA my students, Nick and Taenan, really shocked me with how creative they could be. As you grow up and mature, your interests and insight becomes more narrow as you figure out what it is you like and dislike, however Nick and Taenan helped demonstrate to me the endlessness of the imagination. I always considered myself a creative person, however, they came up with crazier, more creative stories than I could ever think of. Nick for instance, came up with a storyline for Future Bear where she is transported on a plane with a young bear cub who she later finds out to be herself at a younger age! And Taenan developed a story in which Future Bear is taken to a zoo where she believes all the other animals are also taken captive from the future. I am fortunate that I am able to hear their stories and listen to their unique perspective on the world.
While engaging the students at PHA it was awesome to be in a 5th grade setting again. That is such a great time growing up. I think I peeked in this ere of adolescent development, but enough about me. It was great to be able to meet my two students, Nick and Taenan. It was interesting to me the wide range of students at this school. For instance, Taenan is a first generation American with parents from Nigeria, and Nick is also first generation American with his parents hailing from Italy and India. My parents are from boring America…But anyways, going forward to hope to be able to gain access to their thoughts and opinions about their world and environment. Its a more innocent way of looking at things at that age, and it will give me a meaningful experience. To accomplish this I will have to get more comfortable with the two students, or have them get more comfortable with me. I would hope by the end of this experience Taenan and Nick feel free to open up and let me into their world as I will let them into mine.
After reading “How the Art of Social Practice is Changing the World, One Row House as a Time,” I could see the parallels between what artists such as Thomas Hirschhorn, Tania Bruguera, and Pablo Helguera are doing and what we are about to undergo with the students at PHA. The article talked a lot about art as a holistic process. It does not happen within a bubble. How the audience interacts with the art is just as important as how the art is by itself. As one of the artists in the article, Tom Finkelpearl, states “social practice [is] art that’s socially engaged, where the social interaction is at some level the art.” Thus, this is what I hope we accomplish with the students at PHA. Art is a form of communication and I hope that we are able to use this type of communication to help better the students and the community.
Furthermore, this concept reminded me of one of my favorite woodworkers Wharton Esherick. One of the fathers of the American Arts and Crafts movement and a fan of early Bauhaus, Esherick once said “The ultimate aim of all visual arts is the complete building!” Thus, I see this being similar to the article as the goal of visual arts ins’t the one piece itself; it is not about the one masterpiece hanging on the wall, but how it interacts with its surroundings. How it changes its physical environment.
The second screen print artist I found was Dark Matter shop. The reason I picked this artist was because of the size and complexity of their work. Transitionally, in screen printing, the medium seems to be designed for medium sized prints. They are designed to fit on t-shirts, or paper 12×15. However, looking at this work below, one can see these pieces are quite large. The scale is very interesting because one does not see many pieces of this size.
Furthermore, I enjoy the style and complexity of the work. It all seems to flow effortlessly throughout the canvas. This is accomplished throughout the simplicity of line and form. It reminds me of traditional Japanese art, especially the work of Kose Kanaoka.
The screen printing artist I found is Benjamin Rider. As you can see from the pictures below his art is awesome. That might not be the most artistic or intellectual articulation you were looking for, but his work is so visceral that there is no way to describe it than just plain awesome. It is a mix of the 60’s hippie movement, the 50’s pop art, and the 90’s grunge movement. This is displayed through every facet of his work. The color choice, the medium, the line and form, and the content.
Furthermore, one aspect of this work I truly appreciate is the amount of layers Rider uses, especially since he is using silkscreen. for every color, we has to make a completely different screen, and one screen is already hard enough. Moreover, each layer is extremely complex. The amount of proofs he must do for each print has to be in the 20’s. That or he is just better at lining up paper than I am…
One aspect of art I enjoy is how art is both a mix an artist’s personal identity and the medium they are working with. The artist is in a personal crossroad on how to personally represent themselves within the medium they work with. One artist that I came across that represented this ideology is Ranger Doug. Ranger Doug is an art commission formed under the Works Progress Administration, after the great depression. Their art conforms perfectly to the aesthetics of the serigraph print, conforming contemporary ideas to an old medium.
Another, aspect of this work, I really enjoyed was the simplicity of the work. The work takes many beautiful landscapes and simplifies them into three color pallets. furthermore, these pallets make such great use of complimentary colors. For instance, the composition with Hawaii, make such a beautiful dynamic between the deep purples and hard oranges. These contrasts makes the pieces more interesting, and more appealing to look at.
Here are some of my favorites:
In the reading, “The Letterpress Now,” two things that I found noteworthy was the importance of preparation in the print process, and the history behind the medium. I found the importance in preparation interesting because it is seldom thought about when looking at a finished work. However, the preparation is what makes the finished work, finished work. Thus, as the ole saying goes, I will be sure to measure twice and cut once in my print making. Secondly, I enjoyed the history behind the print making presses such as the Tabletop Platen Press, the Jobbing Press, and the Proof Presses. Much like the preparation behind prints, knowing the history behind each machine, enriches the viewing experience of a finished work.
From the reading Ink, Paper, Metal, Wood by Kathan Brown, I found the author’s distinction between “impressions” and “copies” quite interesting. I enjoyed the fact that from one matrix, multiple impressions can be made; that this art form is existential. It’s real. Just as every day life is random and winding, so is print making. Although, the matrix of the prints sets a parameter there is no exact law for how each “impression” will end up. It allows for the flaws and mishaps of the human existence to make a distinct and different impression each time. This is especially interesting now, as computer programs such as Adobe Photoshop, and Illustrator make it so graphic designers can create and copy exact images a thousand times over. Thus, the term “impressions” brings a realness and human element to the medium. Therefore, I enjoyed the distinction between “impressions” and “copies” because, “impressions” allows for the artist’s authenticity and realness to be infused into the work.